So that cleanse that Asheley and I have been doing is officially over. We both are feeling a whole lot better about ourselves, which is a nice change from the fat-fest that ensued during the holiday season. Although we’ve made it a personal goal of ours to try to be a little more health-conscious overall for the start of 2013, we had to celebrate the end of our cleanse with a little indulgence!
This past Sunday we headed into Brooklyn to eat at Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s new restaurant, Krescendo, which just opened a couple months back. Chef Falkner had previously already made quite the name for herself as chef/partner of the popular Citizen Cake and Orso in San Francisco, but lucky for us, decided to leave the West Coast and set up shop right here in Brooklyn.
Chef Falkner has become quite recognizable over the past several years, making various TV appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, two different seasons of The Next Iron Chef competition, and a smattering of other culinary shows. I’ve always been quite intrigued by the dishes she came up with on The Next Iron Chef. She was a solid contender on both seasons and consistently brought great food to the judges table. And although she previously carried the stigma of only being a tremendous pastry chef, Chef Falkner quickly proved that she’s more than just cakes and ice cream.
So I’m going to let you in on one of my favorite little quirks about my lovely and beautiful wife Asheley. She absolutely gets freaked out by having to mix ingredients together by hand. Like an absurd amount of freaked out. Mix together some egg and flour for pasta? Nope. Bring together a crumble topping with softened butter? No way. Give her a spoon though and she’ll be the best stirring sous chef there is. She is the resident stirrer in our house, but her hands refuse to get down, dirty, and up close and personal with those ingredients,
I just find that super odd because she works in the medical field and does (and loves doing) much more hands-on tasks at work, including scrubbing in on surgeries and the like. Excuse me Asheley, can you please reach in there and clamp down on that main artery? Sure, sounds great! Excuse me Asheley, can you please mix together these ingredients with your hands? Heck no, that’s gross!
See what I mean? So needless to say when it came time for massaging this lovely, delightful kale salad, Asheley had less than zero desire to participate in the fun.
Anyway, this recipe was actually sent to me from my good friend Tyler’s (you’ve heard of him before… he’s the brains behind all the technical aspects of the Shared Appetite) fiancé Ashley. She is doing the same little food cleanse that Asheley and I are doing, and thought this salad was really good. I was skeptical at first, as she handed me a little ziploc bag full of nutritional yeast that the recipe apparently called for. Nutritional yeast? Uhm, what the heck is that…
Well, hello 2013! I can’t believe January is already here. It’s seems like just yesterday I was enjoying that decadent Crack Pie with Speculoos at Thanksgiving. December was a crazy whirlwind of a month (isn’t it always?), filled with the typical gluttony that comes with the holiday season. Although I enjoy me some holiday gluttony, Asheley and I are now trying to recalibrate our systems a bit and start off this New Year with a little kind-of food cleanse. We are on Day 7 out of 10 as of right now. And I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. Although we can eat unlimited fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains, there is no meat, dairy, or bread allowed. It’s really showing us how much we are addicted to those foods (Asheley is currently in withdrawal, desperately wanting to dig into the box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate stars we have stashed away under our coffee table).
I’ve had fun the last couple of days trying to find recipes and think of ways to still eat delicious food, even with all these restrictions. I came across and slightly adapted this delicious recipe for spaghetti squash from a really awesome food blog I just recently discovered: Two Peas and Their Pod. Although I still miss my no-good-for-me regular old pasta, this spaghetti squash made for a really healthy and deliciously flavorful meal.
2012 was really spectacular for me. The highlight of the year had to be July 7, which was the day I married my beautiful wife Asheley. A close 2nd to our wedding day was the week-plus we spent eating our way around Paris on our honeymoon. It was a culinary adventure we will never ever forget. And although a lot of the year was pretty busy with planning both the wedding and honeymoon, there were still some pretty amazing recipes I came across in the kitchen.
Looking back over all the recipes I posted throughout 2012 was a lot of fun… there are some dishes I completely forgot about and totally am going to make soon, like the Pork Tinga Tacos and Baja Fish Tacos. I also got to see how horrendous most of my food photos were at the beginning of last year. Yikes! Improvement has definitely been shown in that department I think… I’ve been learning a lot about food photography from some books and my good friend and very talented photographer Tyler as of recent, but I still have a ways to go. I actually just bought a new camera as a Christmas present to myself, and am super excited for what’s to come in 2013. But for now, here’s a look back at 2012.
I love cookies. Sometimes a little too much, as my waistline can surely attest. And although in about a week or so my yearly New Year’s resolution to eat better kicks in, for now I can (and will) enjoy all things cookie. My favorite ones to make recently are these Compost Cookies. I actually first made these cookies last year, but in the last couple months I’ve found myself making them quite a bunch for our friends and family.
The secret to the Compost Cookie greatness is in the same salty-sweet combination that makes chocolate covered pretzels so brilliant. And in the true spirit of composting, you can use whatever salty or sweet mix-ins you have lying around the house, which ensures a new and unique cookie every time you bake up a batch.
This recipe comes from Pastry Chef Christina Tosi of NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar. You may remember that name from when I posted an adapted version of her Crack Pie with Speculoos recipe a few weeks back. Compost Cookies are one of her best-selling desserts, and is a perfect cookie to try out on family and friends during this last week of cookie overload before the New Year.
So yea… this post was finished about 5 days ago, but then I got super busy with lots of Christmas stuff: shopping, parties, some cookie baking, and I even played in an awesome Christmas Brass Quintet Concert that raised awareness and food/toy donations for the wonderful organization Lighthouse Mission. It was a great night for a great cause. Have I ever mentioned I play the trumpet? Anyway, so I finally went to post this recipe yesterday morning and what surprise did I find?! Somehow the post didn’t save properly, was erased, and I had to start all over again. Don’t you love it when that happens? So let’s try this again…
We are officially in a bacon craze. It seems like everywhere we turn lately, it’s bacon this and bacon that. They’ve got bacon wrapped, bacon filled, bacon infused, topped with bacon crumble, cooked in bacon fat, and even bacon desserts. Yes, bacon dessert! Have you tried the Brown Butter – Candied Bacon Ice Cream at the Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck? It’s divine.
Although I’m a huge fan of bacon and am not certain that this is just a passing culinary phase, some people feel like it’s being over done, kinda like the recent cupcake obsession (but really, you do need to check out Molly’s Cupcakes in the village for the most unbelievable cupcakes). I’m really not bothered by the bacon overload. I welcome it. And to add to this bacon overload, welcome these little lovely Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken bites, which are as addictive as that amazing TV series that Asheley and I are currently hooked on, Breaking Bad (we literally watched the first 4 seasons in the span of 1 month).
This recipe actually comes from… cover your ears Anthony Bourdain… Paula Deen y’all. I’m not really a big fan of Paula Deen and I hardly ever make any of the butter-laden recipes, but this one actually caught my eye as I was browsing the google one night for party apps. It’s really the perfect party finger food: no utensils required, not even a plate, and it a single perfect bite of sweet, salty, and just a little kick of spicy. It’s also lightning fast to make and can even be prepared ahead of time.
It was 2 weeks before Thanksgiving when Tyler, my good friend and techie-guru behind Shared Appetite, emailed me a link of a recipe he found for an adaptation of Crack Pie, with the addition of Nutella. If you’ve never heard of Crack Pie, made famous byNYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar, well… I’ll get to that in a minute. Just know for now that you have been missing out, big time, if you never had the chance to try it.
Crack Pie in itself is absolutely amazing. Add nutella into the mix, and I could barely hold my excitement. I immediately knew what I was going to make for Thanksgiving dessert this year. Oh heck yea.
But then fast forward to a day or two before Thanksgiving. I was watching my wife eat her daily dose of animal crackers, which she enthusiastically dips into our jar of Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (their version of the Speculoos). And it hit me… Crack Pie… with… you might want to sit down… Speculoos!
Following the consumption of said pie on Thanksgiving and the subsequent days of leftover gluttony, friends and family have been asking for this recipe more than any other. And I ask, who am I to disappoint?
Spending a lot of time in the Lower East Side recently, I’ve grown accustomed to and thoroughly enjoy those delicious dumplings served up over at C & C Prosperity. They are the perfect $1 treat in between my typical stops at Doughnut Plant, The Meatball Shop, and Big Gay Ice Cream.
But for a while now I’ve wanted to head down a bit to Chinatown and do a little dumpling tour, stopping at some of the best known spots for dumplings to have a look… or more accurately, taste. And as I quickly found out, you never even have to leave Eldridge Street. How convenient is that?!
So one late afternoon, Asheley and I headed down… headed down to Chinatown:
I got home from work one recent Friday afternoon only to remember that we had a small group of church friends coming over later that evening and I needed to whip up something fast, easy, and delicious. Luckily I was just flipping through a Bon Appétit magazine the day before and a recipe for grilled flatbread caught my eye. This is an adaptation of that recipe, and oh man is it freaking good. I’ve been making it like a mad man since then (Asheley can surely attest to that) for everyone and anyone. It’s the perfect fall/winter comfort food, and a spectacular choice for easy entertaining.
I had such huge aspirations this year for testing a ton of different Autumn-inspired recipes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving time. It was going to be great. I have been bookmarking a ton of different recipes I found interesting, just waiting for the time to actually make them. And that’s the problem. Time… It’s just something I never seem to have enough of. Thanksgiving just kind of sneaked up on me this year (I don’t know about you, but this tends to happen to me every year). It’s time to get my behind in gear and get cooking!
This Roasted Acorn Squash is dangerous. Although intended to be a perfect side dish, it can very easily steal the entire show at dinner. Turkey, what turkey? It’s different and unique yet so superb in it’s simplicity. It’s visually stunning and ridiculously delicious in every sense of the word. And best of all, it really only takes like an ounce of effort to prepare.
If you want to impress everyone at the dinner table this Thanksgiving, or really any time you need a side dish during these cold months pressing down on us, put this quick and easy Roasted Acorn Squash on your short list.